Richard Bonynge, AC, CBE, was born in Sydney and studied piano at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music and later with Herbert Fryer, a pupil of Busoni, in London. He made his conducting début in Rome in 1962 with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and has since conducted at most of the world’s opera houses. He was Artistic Director of Vancouver Opera and Musical Director of Australian Opera. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1977, Officer of the Order of Australia in 1983, Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres, Paris in 1989 and made “Socio d’onore” of the R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna in 2007. He married the late soprano Joan Sutherland in 1954 and has one son.
He has recorded over fifty complete operas, has made videos and DVDs of many operas and recorded numerous ballets. As a conductor Bonynge is widely regarded as being extraordinarily sympathetic to singers on the stage and his instinct, knowledge and feel for voices has become legendary. Richard Bonynge is acknowledged as a scholar of bel canto, in 18th and 19th century opera and ballet music.